here-we-collide

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My favorite artist is Claude Monet. I remember when I was small, I would sit on my father’s lap and look at pictures of his paintings for hours. I loved the bright colors, the illusions of light and the movement of the paintings. However, I never knew who the artist was until a couple of years ago, so it was kind of like a re-discovery of impressionism. It actually got me back into art. 

source: eelberg (flickr) 

I am probably your average, broken New Yorker. Not only is it weird to make physical contact with other people, but it scares me too. I don’t like making myself vulnerable enough to get close to strangers.

But of course, Jon asks the crowd to put an arm around the person to either side, to be connected. And although I was hesitant to, I did and it was okay. Because I knew we were all there for the same purpose and we all shared one thing - we were all broken. But a lot of broken people coming together like a family make a whole.

I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. That’s what it felt like. I wasn’t just a scared New Yorker. I was the whole crowd, singing along…

“Our love is a puzzle that can’t be solved.”

  • Sand Between Our Fingers (MP3)
  • Patrick Gardiner
  • Save Myself EP
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I wrote this song ‘Sand Between Our Fingers’ when I was in quite a dark place in my life.

It’s really about being separated from people and the need for human interaction, and attention, and love.

This song was an expression of my hope that everything would get better… and it did.
Now, when I perform this song it’s with a sense of joy and triumph, looking back on what I have come through.

Open up won’t you get a little closer

Let me in, the water’s at my neck

Open up won’t you get a little closer

Let me in, boldness be my friend

http://patrickgardiner.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/patrickgardinermusic


I decided that I would try writing a personalized post-it for a different student each day this week. This student is one of the most unique people I’ve ever met. He has shared about some of the “darkness” inside him that he feels many people can’t understand. I’ve tried to reassure him that I’ve dealt with the same thing for most of my life and that it’s possible to let the good shine through. I hope he keeps looking at the world from his unique perspective and sharing it with the world.

Find out more about the Here We Collide Collective: Post-It Challenge.

Looking for Alaska is a novel by John Green that I’ve somehow not read until very recently. That being said, I do not own my own copy of it yet, as I went to an actual library and checked it out. Yes. Libraries. They still exist.

Anyway - I immediately wanted to reread it the moment I finished the last chapter, and I can’t remember the last time I actually wanted to reread a book so soon. Not even Harry Potter.

That being said, I haven’t been touched by a book in this way in quite a long time. John Green is able to so eloquently not just touch on, but dive into what it is to grow up. What it is to find your place - and “to seek a Great Perhaps”.  What it is to live, and to grieve, and to forgive. And how people change us without us really realizing it.

But the part that hit me the hardest was a simple quote about how incredibly complex we are:

“When adults say, ‘Teenagers think they are invincible’ with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But the part of us that is greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”

“The part of us that is greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”

It’s the idea that there is a part of us that is more than our DNA. It’s more than our memories and more than everything we’ve ever seen or heard or experienced. And that thing is what ultimately makes us who we are. And that thing has already outlived us, and will into eternity.

It’s nice to know that we are invincible. Because recognizing that most essential part of us is a reminder that there is hope - That we will be the hopeful.

My absolute favorite book is “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky. 

I have so many favorite lines:
“And I wonder if anyone is really happy. I hope they are. I really hope they are.”

“We accept the love we think we deserve”

“It’s great that you can listen and be a shoulder to someone, but what about when someone doesn’t need a shoulder. What if they need the arms or something like that? You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things.”

“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”

Honestly, I could keep going. The whole book is rich with life, wonder, thoughts, community, love. It’s the most raw, realistic book I’ve ever read, and I will never get tired of it. 

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I have some time on my hands so I thought I would submit to the Here We Collide Collective this week.

Lately I’ve been finding myself expressing my thoughts through string art. This started as a simple craft found on Pinterest (see the Ohio String Art I made over the summer) but, I just found so much joy in turning a simple piece of string into something incredible that I became addicted.

I was inspired to do a heart for my mom for her birthday. It didn’t turn out exactly right so I used a piece of string to form the word “love” next to the heart. This sort of became my own creation from the blog instructions I was following.

Then I wanted to challenge myself. So I decided to make an elephant for my sister. And more hearts. And more love.

Sometimes I find myself looking at a blank slate (whether that’s a piece of wood or a wall) and dreaming how I could make it different or beautiful. String Art has been my answer to that. I found the white walls in my apartment to be boring and empty, so I built a few string art designs on the walls to make them more creative. I used the word “adventure” in my living room because it’s my favorite word and reminds me of all the great adventures I’ve had lately.

Honestly, this is exactly how I think. I’m a writer and an entrepreneur.  I draw sometimes and I carry around a writing pad to sketch out designs or simply just spit out words onto paper. But string art gives me the opportunity to just put nails on something and use string to connect the different points. There’s no real rhyme or reason to it, but sometimes I just like to turn the music up and make something beautiful.

It’s just string to some people. And it looks easy to most people. But it’s a way to express myself and take those lingering thoughts and ideas to create something tangible.

And that’s how I express myself.

P.S.

I sell these and do custom designs through etsy.

www.etsy.com/Shop/StringITs

Heavy and Light fell in the perfect moment. Four friends I got tickets for Christmas and counted down to our trip from Chattanooga to Nashville. Six days before the show, I got news that my aunt had three stage IV, inoperable brain tumors. The night of the Nashville show, family flew in from across the country back home to Ohio and spent time together, some praying for the first time in years. My heart was torn between returning to my family in the first time I ever truly missed them and going to this show I was so excited about. After much internal debate, it was decided that the idea of Heavy and Light could not have been a more perfect theme and the setting was what my heart needed. We skipped our last classes on Friday and headed to Nashville, even getting a speeding ticket on the way. We waited outside in the cold for well over and hour and eventually the show started. Songs and honesty and questions met with grace followed. The feeling of being in a room of people with a common desire for honesty in the midst of confusion and community in the midst of pain did more for my heart than I expected. Heavy and Light was amazing, but the effect it had the in days to come carried much more weight. We spent the next days exploring Nashville and Franklin. Something about being in a new city with people I deeply love brought my heart joy. We didn’t all know each other too well before we left, but we returned as friends. Walking through downtown Franklin, I began to feel a release. In the midst, of the confusion and fear of this situation with my aunt, this weekend was a simple reminder that life goes on and there is beauty in the darkest of times. That was the first time I felt alive again in quite some time. The drive home was filled with a much deeper level of conversation. We talked about why we love TWLOHA and what it means to truly love Jesus radically and how that radicalism is simply an exaggeration of grace and love in all situations. We talked about our stories and our struggles and what makes us come alive.

Heavy and Light was an amazing night, but the freedom to struggle and be honest that followed the next day was, by far, the greatest take away.

Here We Collide Collective.

This week’s question from Here We Collide: What are the unexpected things that have spoken to you? Sometimes the phrases on fortune cookies, bottle caps, tea bags, or other things we buy can be surprisingly inspirational. Is there one you have held onto? Post a photo and tell us how long you’ve kept it and why it means something to you.


This is a fortune cookie fortune that I’ve had for almost 2 years now. It is currently taped on the dashboard of my car, because it serves as a good reminder to me. “Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired”…such a basic definition of love, but it helps you realize love in so many different places! Too often people define love solely as romantic or familial love, but they forget about the little things that are love, they take for granted the small signs of love. The friend giving you a hug after you’ve had a rough day. The friend sending you a silly text at the end of the day so you go to bed happy. The prof who goes out of their way to show you something they think you personally will enjoy, the boss who compliments you on something you’ve worked hard on, the cashier at the store who helps you make your purchase cheaper by finding hidden discounts and coupons. It’s all love. and all of it would make you smile, even if you were tired. So whenever you feel like you don’t have much love in your life…look for the things that make you smile when you’re tired.

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I will never forget the first time I heard “Fix You” by Coldplay.

It was the day that my first boyfriend broke up with me. My older sister and I were driving in her car and she said she had a song for me, that she would sing to me through this band. She played it loud - just the way I like it…because I can feel the music resonating in my chest…in my heart.

I remember how the tears came suddenly and I thought my heart would explode.

And the tears come streaming down your face

When you lose something you can’t replace

When you love someone, but it goes to waste

Could it be worse?


When the song finished, we both sat stunned, my face streaked with tears. Chelsea apologized, and said, “I never realized how perfect those words were.”

And I don’t remember what my response was…but I remember the pain and hope I felt as we drove through Melbourne that day. And I remember agreeing that those lyrics really were perfect.

For a long time, I couldn’t listen to that song without crying. But seven years later, I hear it and I feel something stronger than the pain I felt that day. I feel hope.

I hear my sister calling out to me, letting me know I am not alone.

I hear the boy who broke my heart telling me I taught him about God.

I remember the nights my friends spent with me showing me how much they loved me.

I remember all the pain and all the mistakes and all of the struggles I’ve been through in my lifetime.

And I remember the healing.

And I have hope.

Lights will guide you home

And ignite your bones

And I will try to fix you